Macon Earns Clean Audit Opinion
(Macon, GA) “Each year, the City has taken steps to improve its fiscal health and be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” says Macon Mayor Robert Reichert. “The most recent audit shows to the public that, despite challenges, we are proactive in our budgeting and accounting.”
Mayor Reichert reviewed the Fiscal Year 2012 audit with City Council at a Work Session on Tuesday, January 8. The team from Mauldin & Jenkins, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, has reviewed the finances and other systems for Macon and have rendered an Unqualified (Clean) Opinion for Macon. This is the third consecutive year that Macon has received this distinction.
According to the Miller Edwards with Mauldin & Jenkins, there has been great improvement in financial controls and fiscal responsibility during Mayor Reichert’s administration, even with such major challenges such as the recession faced by the entire country which caused serious cash flow issues.
Highlights from this year’s audit include:
- Only 6 findings, each of which is procedural; last year, there were 24 findings.
- The City was in compliance for its spending of over $7 million in federal grant funds. The grants department has significantly increased their monitoring of grants, including compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act, enabling the City to clear many findings from previous years.
- The City has approximately $106 million in total long-term debt, and it has revenue sources to make those payments. This is considerably lower than other Cities this size, and is good for the current City of Macon government and the new, consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.
- The City adopted the State of Georgia Uniform Chart of Accounts. This resolved a finding that has been reported every year since 2006.
- Macon is heavily invested in its pension fund, which is good for employees. Both pensions total $240.9 million in net assets, meaning the City is more than 95% funded. According to Mauldin & Jenkins, this is an excellent percentage when compared to other pensions.
- While the fund balance did decrease this year, we were able to pay the entire $3.2 million note payable to the Fire and Police Pension Fund. This note was originally planned to be paid incrementally through year 2016. Early payment of the note resulted in 10% interest savings through 2016.
The Audit was presented to Council as a Comprehensive Annual Financial Review (CAFR). The CAFR can be viewed by the public by clicking on the file link below. According to Mr. Edwards, “This type of reporting goes above and beyond what is required legally for local governments to do in their audits and speaks highly of Macon’s effort to be transparent with its finances.
Recently, the City of Macon was recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) with a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for FY13, the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting. The City of Macon has earned this award for 25 consecutive years.
State of the City
Throughout January, Mayor Robert Reichert intends to provide the public with several presentations and forums that will serve as a State of the City update. Tuesday’s Worksession about the audit was first in that series as it shows the greatly improved fiscal health of the City.
“We want to let people know of the successes of the past year, the work that still needs to be done, and our focus for the final year of the City of Macon,” says Mayor Reichert. “By providing a series of focused updates, the public will be provided with the in-depth analysis that it deserves.”
Throughout the month-long State of the City, the Mayor will address economic and community development, projects funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), and ongoing planning and updates in the Second Street Downtown Corridor project. The Mayor will cap off the State of the City by providing the public with a Strategic Plan for his Office for the final year of the City.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the next year, from day-to-day operations, on-going city-wide projects, and, of course, preparing for the new, consolidated Macon-Bibb County government,” says Mayor Reichert. “We have worked for several months to develop a plan that will identify the big projects that need to be completed, steps needed to ensure long-term projects are continued, and that City services continue uninterrupted.”
From the GFOA: “In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device.”